There are a number of ways that webmasters can use in order to make their websites communities.
Many intelligent webmasters have seen the potential of turning their sites into social networks. This approach provides one of the ultimate ways to generate a community within a website, and therefore to increase visitor participation, enabling visitors to do the same that they would do in Facebook or Twitter, but in a specific conventional website. A number of format and applications are available to webmaster to introduce social network features in their sites. In the case of sites powered by WordPress, the main applications that can be used are the following:
1. BuddyPress, social networking plugins for WordPress. They are easy to install and use.
2. Mingle allows users to set up profile pages, friend lists, status updates, comments, email notifications.
3. Customize Your Community changes the page so they no longer contain any WP branding information. It allows users to set profile pages, etc.
4. Community Blogs for BuddyPress allows the creation of a community site with multiple authors within BuddyPress.
5. Profiler creates user profiles for every registered user on the site.
The main way to increase visitor participation and community spirit in a website is through the use of social media. Social networking sites allow the user to insert site content to wider audiences, and the characteristic nature of this site allows visitor engagement in the site’s activities. A number of applications have been introduced to share website content with members of social networking sites. The creation of fan pages in sites like Facebook can prove to be very beneficial in this respect, allowing webmasters to share site content with members of social sites, encouraging community spirit by encouraging discussion. Applications like the following can help to attract more visitors to their sites:
4. Seesmic Web Client
7. Tweet Adder
19. Sprout Social
23. Actual Social Media Client
In the case of websites powered by WordPress, there are a great number of plugins that can help webmaster to get more people involved in their site. Other plugins can be used in conjunction with social media sites like Facebook in order to attract more visitors involved in the site and its content.
How to encourage visitor-generated content:
All websites can benefit from help from their visitors in terms of content. Even those websites that are updated every day by their webmasters can benefit from having content from their visitors, rather than just content from their owners. In this respect, there are a number of plugins that can be used to request the submission of content to regular visitors, providing them with a more active role in content creation. This way, all visitors can profit from a wider range of website content. The following plugins can help in this respect
- Community Submitted News
- WordPress Wiki
- FV Community News
- TDO Mini Forms
Setting a forum in your site can also increase the community status of site visitors, as it allows
visitors to have discussions on a number of issues related to the site and its content. The main
WordPress plugins that help webmasters to start forums are:
- Gigya Socialize, which allows users to ass social APIs like Facebook Connect, Twitter, Google,
Yahoo, LinkedIn, and MySpace ID to the site, allowing visitors to engage themselves in the site,
allowing them to invite friends from their social networking sites.
- Threaded Comments, which allows webmasters to turn every post’s comments section into a
discussion forum. One of its features allows visitors to reply to each other, allowing and
encouraging interaction between the site’s visitors.
- Comment Per Paragraph. It is a WordPress theme that enables visitors to comment on each
paragraph within a post, rather than just at the end of the post. It makes commenting or discussions
on specific points. It encourages discussion on different aspects of a subject, rather than general
- Digress.it allows visitors to add notes in the “margins” of a site. These notes are visible to the
public. It encourages participation and appraisal of sites.
Feedback by Paragraph. It also provides users with the abilitiy of commenting on individual
paragraphs rather than whole posts.
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